This coffee table’s sliding indoor garden is the ultimate millennial-friendly plant parenting hack

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Home gardening is difficult enough as it is, but it gets even trickier when you live in small city quarters. With city living’s and home gardening’s popularity rising in recent years, those of us who live in apartment complexes might feel discouraged from starting home garden projects – they’re messy and time-consuming, not to mention that a lot of space is usually a prerequisite. That’s why SOLE was created. SOLE, a home gardening system, poses first as a small coffee table only to reveal a hidden, self-maintained, miniature garden for city dwellers who want to fill their homes up with some natural greens, but not the fuss that typically comes with them.

More people are moving into cities, which means that access to home gardening is decreasing since natural light is harder to come by and smaller apartment spaces, like efficiency studios, are preferred. Thankfully, SOLE’s coffee table was designed to take up as little space as possible in order to fit into even the smallest of studios. Indoor urban gardening is usually practiced by using grow box containers that require a lot of window ledge space and natural sunlight – both of which can be hard to come by in city apartment searches. In order to make home gardening possible in any city-living space, SOLE maintains the perfect climate, temperature, and nutrients for you and your chosen plants so long as they fit inside the coffee table’s extensive body. While researching the influence of temperature, exposure time, intensity, color from visible light, along with the distance and angle of light distribution, the designers behind SOLE decided to incorporate a lighting system that would enhance plant growth by imitating the effect the sun’s rays have on indoor plants.

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This former semiconductor factory is now the worlds largest indoor farm, producing 10k heads of lettuce per day

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This indoor Japanese farm uses LED lights and hydroponics to produce lettuce 2.5 times faster, with just 1% of the water, when compared to an outdoor farm.

When we think about factories, and what we decry as “factory farms,” we probably don’t think very highly of them as being a key component in the future of agriculture, but if we can take what factories do best, such as use technology to build efficient production lines, and pair that with what nature does best, which is growing biomass from light and water and minerals, then growing food in plant factories starts to make a lot of sense.

Converting what were formerly industrial buildings into indoor farming operations, especially in urban areas and locations that aren’t conducive to year-round outdoor food production, could be an excellent reuse of existing resources (the buildings themselves, the infrastructure that supports them, and their locations in or near cities) to help build a more sustainable food system. And this sort of operation can be done in a way that’s both highly efficient and productive (PDF), in essence turning our ideas about industrial-scale factory farming on their heads.

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This brilliant hydroponic system puts a whole garden on your countertop

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Growing your own food is one of life’s great pleasures—plus it’s good for you and for the environment. But in increasingly tight, urban homes, we don’t all have room for gardens. And hydroponic systems, as appealing as they may be, often appear to be a whole lot of hardware for only a bit of actual green. Some fresh arugula would be nice for dinner, but who wants giant plastic box taking up half their kitchen to get a few leaves?

The Rotofarm, by an Australian company called Bace (which appears to have produced skincare products in a past life), is a space-friendly hydroponic system, and it doubles as a beautiful sculpture in your home. With a circular design, which rotates plants like a Ferris wheel through the day, the Rotofarm is able to fit nearly five feet of growing area inside a countertop footprint of just 11 inches. Water is dispersed through the nutrient and water reservoir in the stainless steel base, and a bright LED grow light lives in the middle like a tiny sun. Then to harvest, you can tilt the farm 180-degrees and pull off its clear cover. You take what you want (kale, mint, lettuce, spinach, or, yes, marijuana), and close it back up.

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Indiana Amish farm leads the way to local food security

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Greenhouse at Sunrise Hydroponics.

There is an Amish farm in Topeka, Indiana that supplies all-natural, sustainable produce, using 90% less water and 90% less land, and that utilizes the most advanced vertical aeroponic technology on earth. You cannot get produce that is more local, fresh, healthy, and sustainable — even in the middle of an Indiana blizzard — like you can get at Sunrise Hydroponics, an Amish farm.

 

 

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PodPonics – shipping containers transformed into miniature hydroponic farms

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PodPonics

PodPonics is new hope for urban agriculture. The startup, based in Atlanta, is pursuing a new kind of recycling.  They are transforming old shipping containers into miniature hydroponic farms that can be used to grow food anywhere. Matt Liotta started PodPonics in 2010 and it is already supplying about 200 pounds of leafy greens a week using six converted containers.  About one acre’s worth of produce can be produced in each “pod” which is in only 320 square feet. PodPonics crops use 90% less water than traditional farms, no pesticides, less fertilizer, and go from harvest to your plate in just a matter of hours! (Pics)

 

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The Engineers Guide to Supersizing Pumpkins!

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Who Wants 1 Million Pumpkin Pies !!!

THE GREAT PUMPKIN! Chris Stevens’ record-breaking pumpkin weighs 1,810.5 pounds, shown here with New York Botanical Garden staff. Scientists now think they understand how pumpkins like this one can grow to enormous sizes without splitting apart.

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Living Wall Systems

Living Wall Systems

Example of a BioWall 

We’ve all seen them in action (sort of), so now it is time to check them out on a new level and get at least a cursory look at the different off-the-shelf options out there for living walls. A few select companies are offering systems that are available to North American buyers and beyond. Here’s a summary of what I have found to date…  (Pics)

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